Maroon women's track and field wins conference title, men take runner-up at UAA Indoor Championships

Michael Bennett, UChicago women's track and field team, Ben Clark
Michael Bennett, UChicago women's track and field team, Ben Clark

CHICAGO, Ill. – The University of Chicago women's track and field team clinched its second-straight conference title and the Maroon men's team took second place at the conclusion of the 2015 University Athletic Association (UAA) Indoor Track & Field Championships on Sunday.

UChicago won the seven-team women's meet with 154 points while Washington University-St. Louis was second with 131 points. The roles were reversed on the men's side, as Washington-St. Louis barely edged out UChicago by a single point (114 to 113).

On the women's side, the Maroons won two events on the day, which included a top-three sweep of the shot put. Junior Nkemdilim Nwaokolo recorded the winning throw of 12.58 meters and she was followed by a pair of teammates – senior Reecie Dern (11.52 meters) and freshman Ade Ayoola (11.50 meters). UChicago also captured the top two spots in the one mile. Freshman Megan Verner-Crist scored her first career UAA title in a time of 4:58.58 and junior Brianna Hickey was runner-up in 4:59.65.

Junior Mikaela Hammel broke a school record in the 400 meters. Hammel ran a time of 58.08 to take second place in the event and earn All-UAA status. Three other All-UAA performers were runner-up in their events, including Ayoola in the high jump (1.63 meters), sophomore Michelle Dobbs in the 800 meters (2:14.84) and senior Pam Yu in the triple jump (10.75 meters). In the 200 meters, junior Alison Pildner garnered All-UAA honors after finishing third in 26.17. The 4x400-meter relay of Hammel, Pildner, sophomore Eleanor Kang and Dobbs took second place in 3:56.19.

UChicago's men also had a banner day in a number of events. Junior Michael Bennett broke his own school and conference record in the pole vault by clearing the 4.95 meter bar en route to the win. Junior Ben Clark was victorious in the 200 meters and set a new school record in the process at 22.27. The men's third win came from junior Michael Frasco, who turned on the jets in the last two laps to win the 3,000 meters (8:36.98).

With a one-point margin of difference in the team scores, the men's title came down to the final race of the meet – the 4x400-meter relay. The Bears ended up capturing the event win and the conference championship. UChicago's 4x400-meter relay (Clark, freshman Obinnaya Wamuo, junior Ryan Manzuk, freshman Nathan Downey) finished second and posted a school-record time of 3:21.44.

The Maroon men had four other All-UAA recipients as well. Sophomore Temisan Osowa and Clark finished second and third in the 60 meters with times of 7.06 and 7.13, respectively. A pair of freshmen – Patrick LeFevre (8.43) and Will Ackerman (8.46) – placed second and third in the 60-meter hurdles.

UChicago Top Finishers (Men)
Pole Vault – Michael Bennett (1st, 4.95 meters)
200 meters – Ben Clark (1st, 22.27)
3,000 meters – Michael Frasco (1st, 8:36.98)
60 meters – Temisan Osowa (2nd, 7.06), Ben Clark (3rd, 7.13)
60-meter hurdles – Patrick LeFevre (2nd, 8.43); Will Ackerman (3rd, 8.46)
4x400-meter relay – 2nd, 3:21.44 (Ben Clark, Obinnaya Wamuo, Ryan Manzuk, Nathan Downey)

UChicago Top Finishers (Women)
Shot Put – Nkemdilim Nwaokolo (1st, 12.58 meters); Reecie Dern (2nd, 11.52 meters); Ade Ayoola (3rd, 11.50 meters)
One Mile – Megan Verner-Crist (1st, 4:58.58); Brianna Hickey (2nd, 4:59.65)
400 meters – Mikaela Hammel (2nd, 58.08)
800 meters – Michelle Dobbs (2nd, 2:14.84)
High Jump – Ade Ayoola (2nd, 1.63 meters)
Triple Jump – Pam Yu (2nd, 10.75 meters)
4x400-meter relay – 2nd, 3:56.19 (Mikaela Hammel, Alison Pildner, Eleanor Kang, Michelle Dobbs)
200 meters – Alison Pildner (3rd, 26.17)

NEXT MEET:

  • Saturday, March 7 – UChicago at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Last Chance Meet, 10:30 AM